Rutgersfest Officially Cancelled

I hate to talk about non-sports-related topics on here but found it necessary. This statement released by President McCormick to all students about an hour ago:


Members of the Rutgers Community:

With regret for the loss of a longstanding Rutgers tradition, and with 
admiration for the students who worked hard to plan and run the concert 
this year, I have decided that the university can no longer continue to 
hold Rutgersfest.

As you may know, the concert this past Friday, April 15, drew tens of 
thousands of people to the Busch campus in Piscataway. These included 
not only Rutgers students but also many individuals and groups not 
affiliated with Rutgers, who learned about Rutgersfest through various 
social media channels beyond the university’s control. A large crowd 
descended on New Brunswick’s 5th and 6th wards after the concert for a 
night of partying. Anticipating this, the University had worked with the 
City of New Brunswick in advance to plan for the possibility of 
disruptive behavior. Among other steps, we provided for several dozen 
additional New Brunswick and Rutgers police officers.

However, even this additional police presence did not contain the 
disorder that occurred Friday night and early Saturday morning. Many 
streets were congested with people and there were multiple reports of 
disruptive conduct. Near the College Avenue campus there were many rowdy 
student house parties, incidents of public intoxication, littering, and 
vandalism, and several altercations among students and other 
individuals. Most disturbing to report, four non-Rutgers people were 
shot in three incidents during the course of the evening. The fact that 
none of these shootings resulted in life-threatening injuries does not 
diminish their violence, and I am gravely concerned about the danger to 
our students and our neighbors.

I understand that the decision to end Rutgersfest will disappoint many, 
and I want to thank the students and administrators who organized the 
concert, working hard to promote responsible behavior and to make it a 
safe and enjoyable experience. But the safety of our university 
community, and that of our neighbors, is paramount, and we cannot risk 
further danger or the possible loss of life. The problems that occur 
following Rutgersfest have grown beyond our capacity to manage them, and 
the only responsible course of action is to cancel the event.

Richard L. McCormick
Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey

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